I've made a few changes to the classic family recipe this year.
1) Soak the fruit for a week, stirring daily:
500g mixed fruit and peel
1 small pot of glacier cherries
200g mixed nuts
70cl (minus two shot glasses worth to taste...) cherry brandy
2) Mix 4oz butter and 4oz brown sugar
3) Add 2 eggs alternately with 6oz plain flour
4) Add this to the fruit mixture with 1tsp allspice, 7ml liquid glycerol, 7ml black treacle and bicarbonate of soda.
5) Cook in a cool oven (150 C) for two hours then cool.
6) Feed with amaretto weekly.
It was a pretty delicious cake that went down very well with the DH's father- always good! The nuts definitely added something to it and the amaretto and cherry brandy made it very sweet so it didn't really taste of fruit cake, so not a recipe for the traditionalist.
Next year I will put in less amaretto- it was incredibly gooey!
I saw these on Tesco's Halloween recipes and thought I had to try them!
The cupcakes are normal 2 egg cupcakes (2 eggs, 4oz butter, 4oz caster sugar, 4 oz flour, baking powder and vanilla essence) then I mixed in some frozen raspberries, beating them to get that lovely pink colour.
These baked for 25 minutes at 180 degress while I made the glass shards. To do this, grease baking paper with a little oil and place glacier mints into metal cookie moulds. Put these in the oven to melt for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on these as if they get too hot they turn yellow which doesn't make as pretty glass.
Cool the cupcakes and then top them with cream cheese frosting (half a tub of cream cheese, vanilla essence and LOADS of icing sugar) Leave this to solidify.
To make the blood mush up a few of the frozen raspberries. The pulp makes the nice sloppy dark red bits and the juices the blood. You won't need very many raspberries for this and frozen ones produce the most bloody bits.
Snap the glacier mint into different sizes of shard. Dip them in the raspberry and then place in the cupcake. Then use a teaspoon to add a small amount of raspberry to each cake. Finally take a hammer and the remaining shards or a spare mint and smash it into dust. Sprinkle the dust on top of the cakes.
Step one: bake four coloured cakes or two vanilla, two chocolate. An 8" square tin needs a four egg cake to make an inch and a half high cake. You need 5 of these to make a cube.
Cut them to the same size with a bread knife.
Use a tape measure or ruler and cocktail sticks to mark out 1" squares.
Cut out and separate the rings.
Use chocolate ganache or white icing to stick the smallest square.
Spread icing around the outside of the cube. Add the next ring.
Repeat for the whole layer.
Make each layer on the same manner alternating colours
Cover in white icing and decorate.
I made coloured roll out icing the previous day to stick on. This was quite brittle so probably best to only leave it a few hours.
These were meant to be cupcakes but turned into muffins as I miscalculated the flour. Adding chillies to the batter mix worked really well: it gave the hint of a warming kick without being overly spicy and was a lovely contrast to the chocolate butter cream. I think this would work really well as a rich chocolate chilli cake with a fudge sauce/icing.
I added a finely chopped (or whizzed) chilli per egg into a normal batter recipe as I creamed the butter and the sugar.
I make this Christmas cake every year and it makes a lot so you might want to halve the ingredients!
12oz Plain Flour
8oz Brown sugar
6oz mixed peel
1 table spoon black treacle
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1 table spoon liquid glycerine
Some supermarkets sell mixed bags of dried fruit and mixed peel so you can substitute those in instead. I also made it with port instead of brandy last year and it was delicious.
Soften the butter and then add half the flour and all spice. Then beat in the eggs and sugar and the rest of the flour. Add the fruit, glycerine, brandy, treacle, and bicarb (dissolved in water).
Pour into a greased and lined tin. I use a lasagne dish normally as the mixture is so large: my mother usually makes two smaller cakes.
Cook for 2 hours at 150 degrees Celcius.
Add brandy to the cake weekly, keeping it covered with a tea towel or cling film. I find the best way to get it really gooey is to use a syringe to get the brandy deep into the centre of the cake.
Then cover the cake in marzipan; leave it for a few days to harden and then cover with royal icing.
This year I decided to make an igloo-shaped cake using half a spherical cake tin mould and a normal tin. The penguin is made from icing and the door to the igloo is icing-covered marzipan. His fishing rod is made from a cocktail stick and some cotton. The water is made from white icing whose food colouring isn't properly mixed in leaving it with a nice swirling effect, similar to the stargate wormhole.
You rip what you sew!